Friday, November 16, 2018

In memory of Adelaide Vaughn (1915-2018)

Yesterday I moved my Mother’s name from next year’s sick and shut-in list – that I try to keep up for the East Texas Sacred Harp Convention – over to the Deceased list. “There is no discharge in that war” (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

Funeral services for Mrs. Adelaide Chapman Vaughn, 103, of Laneville, will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, November 17, 2018, at Smyrna Baptist Church with Brothers Charles Williams and Matthew Gholson officiating. Burial will follow in Holleman Cemetery under the direction of Crawford-A. Crim Funeral Home in Henderson. Family will receive friends 1-2 p.m. on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at Smyrna Baptist Church.

Adelaide Chapman, daughter of Robert Lee Chapman and Mariah Loutisha Holleman, was born on April 6, 1915 in the community of Oak Flat, Rusk County, Texas. She was the youngest of ten children. She joined Smyrna Baptist Church by profession of faith in 1933 and was baptized in the Stockman Spring by Elder W. G. Griffith. Adelaide married Charlie Leroy Vaughn on January 9, 1937 in Laneville, Rusk County, Texas. She passed away Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at her home. According to her hopes and desires, she avoided the nursing home and dodged the winter she hated to see coming.

Adelaide grew up on a farm, and knew the cotton culture all too well. As children “How tedious and tasteless the hours” was sometimes drafted by her and a sister to service their complaint of the thankless task of chopping cotton (and other like duties). She graduated from high school (11th grade) in 1934, married, raised children, kept grandchildren, sewed for various people, as well as her children and grandchildren. She was handy at many crafts and was an excellent cook. Her chicken-and-dressing was a notable favorite at local homecomings. Crosswords and Sudoku became favorite pastimes. She loved to read widely, from history to poetry, and often quoted poetry she had memorized in school. Her favorite poem was “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She could recite it verbatim until she was 101 years old. After that, she began to miss some words and phrases now and then!

Mother was born to singers, lived in a singing community, married a singer, and gave birth to singers. Her Great Uncle Joe Chapman (her grandfather’s brother) was a leading figure in the community Sacred Harp singings and keyed the music until his health no longer permitted him to participate. Her Uncle Joe Chapman (her father’s brother) was an active singer who also served as an area agent for the early Cooper editions of The Sacred Harp before his early death in 1912. “Daddy Bob” Chapman (her father) was also an active singer in his younger years, though some circumstances of his later life seem to have driven his primary singing venue to his front porch! Mother attended singings (Sacred Harp and “Little Book”) almost all her life, supported and cooked for singings – but never was a singer herself. She was hard of hearing at least from in her 40s, which progressively got worse. She wore hearing aids. At singings she was always a listener, and a pretty inconspicuous one at that. If you didn’t know her, you may gone to singings with her and never knew it.

When Mother was a young girl, her father would lay on the porch, leaning against an upended straight-back chair, singing Sacred Harp songs. He made some effort to teach her, but she said she just wanted to run and play. She was the “baby” of the family likely a little bit “spoiled.” Not paying attention as a girl, not singing as an adult, nevertheless the notes one of her favorite songs – one that her Daddy tried to teach her and probably never knew he accomplished, Return Again, No. 335 in The Sacred Harp – were indelibly etched in her memory. She might not sing at the singings, but she could (and would) sing at home “fa-fa-la-la-fa-fa-sol-fa-la; fa-fa-la-sol-fa-fa-fa” from memory into her 100s. She and I sang it together (words, too) at her house several times, sitting side by side in the easy chairs.

Mother’s three song choices for her funeral reflect some of the spectrum of her musical preferences and interest. A grandson will sing The Pearly White City. The congregation will sing What a Great Day, a song written by her late husband and daughter. Those in the congregation who know the “4-notes” will sing the notes of Return Again, and all the congregation will be invited to sing the words.

All who come will be welcome and appreciated. Those who can’t come will be respected and appreciated. We thank you all for your prayers and well wishes.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

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